How To Survive Travelling As A Couple
You think you know your bae better than he or she knows themselves. But until you’ve travelled with them, you might discover that you don’t know them that well at all. We asked seasoned traveller Natalie Cosgrove about managing expectations when it comes to travelling as a couple.
After living with my fiancé in three different countries and travelling together to dozens of places, I’ve definitely seen some things – temples, cities, museums, island resorts with private beaches and my darling’s not-so-patient reaction to my inability to read a map.
But the good news is, travelling with your significant other doesn’t have to be a relationship deal-breaker. If you’re thinking of travelling with your girlfriend or boyfriend for the first time (or again), check out these tricks I’ve learnt on how to survive travelling as a couple.
1. Figure out your travel style
Does one person in your relationship love to plan, while the other is more go with the flow? Just because you like creating a 12-tab colour-coded Google doc that plans every minute of your time, it doesn’t mean your partner does too.
Get a feel for how you both like to travel. The key here is to compromise and find a solution that you’re both comfortable with. Plan the big ticket items like accommodation and transfers, but decide on the activities until you get there. That way, you still have the structure to your trip you need while leaving the possibilities for adventures open ended.
2. Go beyond the bare necessities
We all know those travellers who seem to be able to go around the world for six months with just a small backpack. But when you’re travelling as a couple, you need a few more than just the basics. Having travel essentials will make sure you’re both feeling good and confident to tackle any challenges while on the road.
To fly comfortably together, invest in neck pillows, and ensure you have enough content on your laptops and Kindles so you can have separate quiet time on the plane. Buy a local sim card when you get to a new destination – having the ability to both use maps and know you can contact each other if you’re separated makes travelling a lot more stress-free.
3. Be true to yourself… but still know how to compromise
To prove to my partner how intrepid I really was, I booked a room in a hostel in Myanmar with a shared bathroom a few years ago. When we arrived, I discovered the bathroom was not only shared, but outside, and right next to the spot where the hostel staff took their breaks. Good times!
The point is, don’t do things you’re not comfortable with, for the sake of what you think your partner wants. You will feel resentful and that’ll be a potential source of conflict. If you’re not comfortable roughing it, jumping out of a plane or visiting five different art museums – say so. Be honest but prepare to compromise.
4. Say no to the #selfie
Ok, let’s not get crazy here. You don’t have to ban the selfie completely but chill out on the Snapchat and selfies when you’re travelling together. As much as you want to snap as many #lifewelltravelled photos for social media, your boo is going to get annoyed after you insist on 10 different versions of the same picture.
So, snap less – quality over quantity. That way, you’ll have more time to spend with your boo and experience your exciting new surroundings. If you make an effort to travel in style, the pictures you take will be aesthetically better and socially sharable as well. You’ll also spend less time filtering out unwanted selfies.
5. Don’t sweat the small stuff
When you’re in new surroundings, out of your normal routine, tensions can be heightened and simple things might seem bigger than they actually are. Constant bickering will only kill the travel vibes and create resentment in your relationship.
If you end up getting lost on the way to your hotel, or realise bae has blown the budget on tacky souvenirs (like my giant collection of fridge magnets), don’t pick a fight. Breathe, step back and remind yourself that travel is an amazing privilege and enjoy the experience of being in in a new and amazing place with the one you love.
6. Make time for romance
I get it, you probably don’t feel that hot when you’ve got a packed itinerary but don’t forget to make time for some sexy times while you’re travelling. It’s easy to get caught up in seeing, doing and eating everything in a new place, so ensure you’re sharing in it with the one beside you!
Use the magic of being in a new place to reignite the romance. Whether it’s watching the sunset together in a glass infinity pool, or planning a romantic candlelit dinner at an authentic local restaurant, do something where you can reconnect, away from the craziness of travel as a couple. That’s how you make the best memories.
When you’re in a foreign place together, it’s just the two of you against the world. That’s one of the best things about travelling as a couple. It helps you to learn more about each other, and to be a better team. And it doesn’t have to be stressful – follow these simple travel tips for couples, and you’ll ensure it’s smooth-sailing off into the sunset on your next holiday.
by Natalie Cosgrove (@ashgrovetravels). Main image by Alex Iby